Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the Society.

Photo

Shelf-stable products that shouldn't be


  • Please log in to reply
27 replies to this topic

#1 Fat Guy

Fat Guy
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 29,303 posts
  • Location:New York, NY

Posted 23 February 2011 - 05:51 PM

Over the past decade or so I've been seeing more and more products that used to be sold only in the refrigerator or freezer section repackaged for shelf stability. Milk is probably the most obvious example, with chocolate milk in particular now being mostly out of the refrigerator.

Shelf-stable milk does not taste as good to me as refrigerated milk, though I confess I haven't done a blind tasting.

Today I tried some shelf-stable tortellini, which I thought were markedly inferior to the refrigerated and frozen kind -- so much so that no blind tasting is required.

What else should go back to the fridge?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)


#2 Darienne

Darienne
  • participating member
  • 4,709 posts
  • Location:Rolling Hills of Cavan, Ontario

Posted 23 February 2011 - 06:36 PM

Smoked salmon. I tried a couple of kins off the shelf in Costco...terrible.
Darienne


learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

#3 BeeZee

BeeZee
  • participating member
  • 543 posts
  • Location:Central NJ

Posted 23 February 2011 - 07:28 PM

Pudding cups...I always look at them suspiciously in the supermarket...and they say they are made with "real milk".
"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

#4 haresfur

haresfur
  • participating member
  • 1,155 posts
  • Location:Bendigo Australia

Posted 24 February 2011 - 12:34 AM

Smoked salmon. I tried a couple of kins off the shelf in Costco...terrible.

Um, I think smoked salmon is one of the [i]original[i] shelf-stable products.
It's almost never bad to feed someone.

#5 emannths

emannths
  • participating member
  • 270 posts
  • Location:Somerville, MA

Posted 24 February 2011 - 01:06 AM

Lard? Of course, whether you consider leaf lard and the shelf-stable partially hydrogenated stuff to be the same thing is a debate for another topic...

#6 CFT

CFT
  • participating member
  • 162 posts
  • Location:UK

Posted 24 February 2011 - 05:39 AM

Jelly/jello in individual pots.
Best Wishes,
Chee Fai.

#7 Genkinaonna

Genkinaonna
  • participating member
  • 577 posts
  • Location:Just west of beautiful Portland, Oregon

Posted 24 February 2011 - 05:54 AM

Turkey and stuffing...in fact, any "complete meal" that doesn't need to go in the fridge is kind of disturbing in my book...
If you ate pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry? ~Author Unknown

#8 Doodad

Doodad
  • participating member
  • 1,162 posts
  • Location:Atlanta

Posted 24 February 2011 - 05:58 AM

Bacon. That stuff scares me.

#9 jsmeeker

jsmeeker
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 2,505 posts
  • Location:Dallas, TX

Posted 24 February 2011 - 01:53 PM

Lard? Of course, whether you consider leaf lard and the shelf-stable partially hydrogenated stuff to be the same thing is a debate for another topic...



There is a debate over this?

I thought we all knew they weren't close to the same thing.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
jmeeker@eGullet.org


#10 mkayahara

mkayahara
  • participating member
  • 1,851 posts
  • Location:Guelph, Ontario

Posted 24 February 2011 - 02:02 PM

Bacon. That stuff scares me.

Ditto that. I've never been able to bring myself to buy it, though it's no doubt possible that I've eaten it unknowingly.
Matthew Kayahara
Kayahara.ca
@mtkayahara

#11 ruthcooks

ruthcooks
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 1,100 posts

Posted 24 February 2011 - 03:04 PM

Chicken broth. All it takes is one psycho--or evil child--and a pin to poke and destroy without your knowledge. Tuna in pouches, also.
Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

#12 Shalmanese

Shalmanese
  • participating member
  • 3,470 posts
  • Location:San Francisco

Posted 24 February 2011 - 03:31 PM

Hollandaise and Bernaise sauce.
PS: I am a guy.

#13 haresfur

haresfur
  • participating member
  • 1,155 posts
  • Location:Bendigo Australia

Posted 26 February 2011 - 02:50 PM

I was bicycle camping in England one time and got a withering look when I asked for UHT milk. I had to guzzle the liter of fresh outside the shop but it was the best milk I have ever tasted. That being said, shelf stable milk is vastly superior to on-the-edge or over-the-edge "fresh" milk. I don't go through a lot of milk and even new containers of fresh milk, especially plastic can taste a bit off. The shelf stable milk lasts a long time in the fridge after opening.

Most stores here have the eggs on the shelf. Perhaps this helps the difficult to peel hard-boiled egg problem.

Fresh tofu is vastly superior to the shelf-stable packs if it is really fresh.
It's almost never bad to feed someone.

#14 andiesenji

andiesenji
  • society donor
  • 9,405 posts
  • Location:Southern California

Posted 26 February 2011 - 03:05 PM

Jelly/jello in individual pots.



Those are so lame! How easy is Jello - no cooking required.

Perhaps these are aimed at people who truly can't "boil water."


My kids used to make Jello, usually daily and sometimes on weekends, twice a day.
This was just about the time small plastic "disposable" tumblers appeared on the market and after the Jello had been cooled with cold water, these were filled and refrigerated, sometimes with inclusions of fruits &etc., and usually topped with heavy cream (unwhipped) or cottage cheese.
I thought these were better for them than candy or commercial sweets and certainly less expensive.
"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett
My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

#15 CFT

CFT
  • participating member
  • 162 posts
  • Location:UK

Posted 28 February 2011 - 09:39 AM

I think they're designed for lunch boxes. But they don't really feel like real jelly/jello to me. More like a quick dissolving gummy sweet/candy.
Best Wishes,
Chee Fai.

#16 BadRabbit

BadRabbit
  • participating member
  • 690 posts
  • Location:Birmingham, AL

Posted 28 February 2011 - 11:06 AM

Bacon. That stuff scares me.



There are some extremely good shelf stable bacons. I know Broadbent is shelf stable and I believe that Benton's is as well.

#17 David A. Goldfarb

David A. Goldfarb
  • participating member
  • 1,307 posts
  • Location:Honolulu, HI

Posted 28 February 2011 - 12:57 PM

We often have the shelf stable milk in our office, and I use it in my coffee, but I can't say that I really like it. To me the difference in taste is obvious.

Vacuum packed shelf stable gnocchi aren't so different from gnocchi sold for the freezer or refrigerator.

I tried the dried shelf-stable tortellini once and didn't particularly care for it.

I think the Pomi tomatoes in the box are fresher tasting than many of the analogous canned products.

#18 Fat Guy

Fat Guy
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 29,303 posts
  • Location:New York, NY

Posted 28 February 2011 - 01:11 PM

I think the Pomi tomatoes in the box are fresher tasting than many of the analogous canned products.


Pomi tomatoes in a box are one of the great underrated ingredients of our era. I think people don't understand them because they don't have as much salt as canned, but once you adjust for that expectation their flavor is amazing.

In general, when you go from canned to aseptic boxes I think you see improvements. Chicken stock in a box is much better than chicken stock in a can, for example. But those are both forms of shelf-stable packaging. I think the loss in quality comes when you go from refrigerated to shelf-stable.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)


#19 andiesenji

andiesenji
  • society donor
  • 9,405 posts
  • Location:Southern California

Posted 28 February 2011 - 02:17 PM

I like the Pomi Tomatoes also, however, I always inspect the container carefully before I put it in my shopping basket because I once put one in my basket and when I got to checkout I noticed it was oozing from one corner.
I pointed it out to the checker and she suggested that I had "dropped" it into the basket. As it was in the upper section, along with eggs, I protested this and refused to pay.
The manager appeared, sent someone for another box and had a few private words with the checker.
I hate to make trouble but I wasn't going to buy a questionable product.
"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett
My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

#20 natasha1270

natasha1270
  • participating member
  • 394 posts
  • Location:Falls Church, VA

Posted 28 February 2011 - 02:42 PM

I'm told the refrigerated versions of soy milk/almond milk are also better than the shelf versions.
"The main thing to remember about Italian food is that when you put your groceries in the car, the quality of your dinner has already been decided." – Mario Batali

#21 David A. Goldfarb

David A. Goldfarb
  • participating member
  • 1,307 posts
  • Location:Honolulu, HI

Posted 28 February 2011 - 06:33 PM


Bacon. That stuff scares me.



There are some extremely good shelf stable bacons. I know Broadbent is shelf stable and I believe that Benton's is as well.


And then there's this:

http://www.campingsu...CFac65QodhnawBA

Now THAT stuff scares me.

#22 tomdarch

tomdarch
  • participating member
  • 122 posts

Posted 28 February 2011 - 08:27 PM

And then there's this:

http://www.campingsu...CFac65QodhnawBA

Now THAT stuff scares me.

It should scare you - with it's camo label, it could sneak up on you in the woods and go all Rambo on you!

But, yes, UHT (ultra-pasteurized, shelf stable) milk does taste odd - it has been cooked, after all. But, when I can find it in small "drink box" size, I'll grab a pack. It's great to have on the shelf if we run out of milk some morning.

#23 David Ross

David Ross
  • host
  • 3,377 posts
  • Location:Spokane

Posted 28 February 2011 - 08:40 PM

Little plastic individual creamers that airlines give you when you ask for "cream" with your coffee. "No refrigeration needed." I've always wondered what chemical gasses shot through that cream.

#24 cbread

cbread
  • participating member
  • 275 posts

Posted 28 February 2011 - 10:35 PM

Chicken broth. All it takes is one psycho--or evil child--and a pin to poke and destroy without your knowledge. Tuna in pouches, also.

Another way to ruin a shelf safe boxed product is a supermarket employee cutting open corrugated boxes using a box cutter a little too aggressively. I had one box of chicken broth that turned out to have been sliced not quite through the full thickness of the container. Over time with a couple of handlings that flexed the damaged surface it lost it's integrity and gradually leaked onto a shelf in my pantry.

#25 TongoRad

TongoRad
  • participating member
  • 654 posts
  • Location:Northern Valley, NJ

Posted 01 March 2011 - 06:01 AM


And then there's this:

http://www.campingsu...CFac65QodhnawBA

Now THAT stuff scares me.

It should scare you - with it's camo label, it could sneak up on you in the woods and go all Rambo on you!

But, yes, UHT (ultra-pasteurized, shelf stable) milk does taste odd - it has been cooked, after all. But, when I can find it in small "drink box" size, I'll grab a pack. It's great to have on the shelf if we run out of milk some morning.


It does serve a purpose; we keep a sixpack of small ones in case of power outages or refrigerator emergencies. Of course, it's rare that it ever comes to that so then I'll gradually use them in my coffee as the expiration date approaches. Those few times they've been required, though, keep them in the pantry at all times.

I do enjoy a shelf stable butterscotch pudding every now and then when I'm brown bagging it. It's not the best, for sure, but enjoyable enough for when the choice is that or nothing.
aka Michael

Chi mangia bene, vive bene!

"...And bring us the finest food you've got, stuffed with the second finest."
"Excellent, sir. Lobster stuffed with tacos."

#26 Darienne

Darienne
  • participating member
  • 4,709 posts
  • Location:Rolling Hills of Cavan, Ontario

Posted 01 March 2011 - 06:14 AM

Water in plastic containers.

I do keep one large plastic container of water, date marked in large letters, in the cellar in case of emergencies. Our water is dependent upon our having functioning electricit and if the power goes off and one needs water immediately, it's just too late. We have an emergency generator, but it does take a few minutes to get it all functioning.

Then every 6 months, that water is relegated to only some uses...such as burns..., and never drinking. Eventually the water gets dumped outside.
Darienne


learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

#27 abooja

abooja
  • participating member
  • 445 posts
  • Location:Miami Lakes, FL

Posted 01 March 2011 - 06:22 AM

Interesting. I thought I was crazy for being loathe to drink even unopened bottled water that's been around longer than a couple of months. In fact, I recently dumped out a gallon of distilled that I managed to avoid using for almost a year. I'm still not sure it wasn't a waste of money.

#28 DanM

DanM
  • participating member
  • 870 posts

Posted 01 March 2011 - 04:34 PM

I have a tendency to give the vacuum packed shelf stable Indian fare at the market a second thought. In a pinch, they are okay, but pale in comparison with other versions.

Pouch tuna in some cases tastes better to me. I think the thin nature of the packaging may lead too less cooking time than what is required to preserve a can of tuna.

Dan
"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.